20 Free Reference List Templates – PDF & Word Downloads

In most cases, prospective employers will always ask you to provide them with your list of references. Therefore, you must have your reference list readily available. A reference list will make you land a job because it features individuals who can support your credentials and certify you are qualified for a specific job. Remember, the format of making a reference list is pretty formal, and you should avoid writing it casually because it is essential data regarding your written document, research paper, or essay.

Whenever you are on the lookout for a job, ensure you carry your reference list and provide it to your hiring managers when needed. On the other hand, before you create a contact list, ask your references for permission to utilize their names and inform them that they might be contacted regarding you. This also shows you that a reference list needs you to take your time and not rush when the time is exhausted. Furthermore, a reference list template is produced to allow readers of your paper to find almost everything you have featured in your written document.

What is a Reference List?

A reference list is the final page of your research paper or essay. It features the entire resources you utilized in your written document. A reference list also is a sheet containing the list of previous jobs references. Hiring managers commonly ask for this list, especially during job applications, alongside a cover letter and a resume.

What Is a Reference List Template?

A reference list template is a document made for your target readers to quickly find the resources you have used in your written document, research paper, or essay. It shows how your information is organized as well as standardized. Furthermore, a great reference template features the following sections:

  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • The company name they work for, as well as their department
  • Job Title
  • Comment(s)

Most people prefer using a reference list template because it helps them save time and gives them an excellent first impression. Additionally, it ensures the references are well organized.

Reference List Templates & Examples

    Types of reference lists

    Below are a few types of reference lists:

    • Academic reference template- Boost your chances of getting an internship or a job, and it is usually offered by supervisors, tutors, teachers, or professors. These individuals have the potential to verify your problem-solving skills, personal character, and academic achievements.
    • Personal references list template- They feature your soft skills and character. Furthermore, it can be a work or academic reference when you do not have work experience. Individuals who can offer personal references include community leaders, good friends, neighbors, and landlords. Ensure you choose a reference who understands you better and can attest to your excellent qualities, like honesty, compassion, timeliness, and reliability.
    • Professional references template- Is usually offered by individuals you worked with, more so in the previous years, such as co-workers, managers, and employers. These people can attest to your communication skills, teamwork, and reliability. Remember, your reference must be a professional who understands your skills and achievements. Min most cases, it should be someone you kept communication burning even after getting another role.

    When and Why an Employer Want a List of Your References

    You must understand that references are mostly asked during the job application process. This is usually done to find a person who can attest you are qualified. Most companies usually look forward to verifying your credentials by conversing with the reference providers to gauge the applicant’s potential of delivering work.

    A reference list might be required during your job application submission or even later within the application process when the company’s hiring manager is almost reaching the final decision.

    Note: In most cases, employers usually specify the number of references you should feature on your list and the contact data you require to offer for every reference.

    Therefore, you must format a professional reference list and put it together with your application materials, email the hiring manager later during the hiring process, or hand it over to the interviewer. The employer can also advise you on when and how you should offer references. Ensure you format your reference list professionally. It should be free of errors and easy to read and digest.

    Before You Submit Your Reference List

    As mentioned earlier, the reference list makes the last page. However, it is not the final step if you have not got permission from each individual that appears on your reference list. You must only submit a list of individuals who have agreed to act as references. Similarly, as much as your entire references might be happy to appear on your list. Inform them in advance that someone will be reaching them to inquire more about you.

    This gives you a chance to share the kind of job you are applying for and tell them the primary points they should emphasize. You can remind them about your accomplishments and skills, especially if it has been a will since you last worked as a team. After ensuring all is set, review your reference list for the last time to ensure there are zero errors and your entire information is the latest and correct.

    Tips for Getting and Submitting Reference List

    Below are several tips for acquiring and submitting your reference list:

    Figure out when to utilize a personal or character reference

    You must understand that some scenarios require submitting a personal or character reference. However, a professional reference has all it takes to speak about your potential. This applies to scenarios when the applicant is going to a new field or is limited to work experience.

    Who to use as your reference

    Selecting a reference is the most crucial step for every applicant during the application process. Furthermore, you will tailor your list of references to the job you will be applying for.

    Tip: If possible, ensure that you utilize references related to the industry or company you are applying for.

    It is also essential to utilizing references with the potential of attesting that you are qualified for a specific position you are applying for. Ideally, you can also list individuals you have managed to work with within the previous years.

    Guarantee your reference give a chance to decline

    After inquiring an individual to offer you a reference, you also need to give them a chance to decline. Many people are usually more than willing to help their colleagues with recommendations and references and see them progress. However, there might be professional policies or circumstances hindering them from helping you at that specific time.

    How do you email your reference list?

    Before emailing your reference list to your employer, ensure you name your file to allow your hiring manager to identify and keep track of your list. Suppose you want to send a PDF file to enable it to retain its original formatting. Follow the steps below:

    • If it is a document, click on the file and save it a PDF, and it will be saved as a PDF file.
    • If it is a Google Docs file, click on it and download it as a PDF document.
    • Finally, use your name to save these files to avoid mixing them with other materials for applicants.

    With the elements mentioned above, your reference list will be complete. However, some elements do not apply everywhere. Ensure you include them only where they are needed.

    The Importance of Creating a Reference List Template

    Referencing is a way of appreciating all the sources you used in your written document. It is also a way of giving credit to the resources you have used to succeed. Below are multiple benefits of creating your reference list template:

    It showcases academic honesty

    When you correctly reference your entire sources, it indicates how honest you are with your work and all written on the paper. It also shows that you give credit where it deserves and did your best to avoid plagiarism. If you use other people’s facts, words, and ideas, the content is likely to be plagiarized, and you risk facing the consequences.

    In most cases, this is an offense, which proves that you lack academic integrity. Plagiarism diminishes your content, rendering your document duplicated and useless.

    Adds and supports credibility to all your arguments

    A referenced document shows that you did research and implemented it using your ideas and thoughts. Therefore, adding references and citations adds credibility and 100% supports your argument. Without a reference list, your document might look inaccurate and unsubstantial. Furthermore, your support depends on facts and shreds of evidence collected from varying sources. Thus, referencing strengthens your entire argument.

    It aids the researchers’ work

    You must know that researchers depend on this list to find the sources. This also applies when your paper will be used for reference for the same research papers or studies. Bear in mind that this page is essential to researchers.

    Enables your target readers to locate the sources you used

    Sometimes readers usually want to find out more about what they read. Here is where the advantage of a reference list is noticed because it allows the reader to locate sources of every information you have featured in your document.

    Showcases the extent and depth of your readings and research

    A reference list shows how much research and reading you have accomplished to develop a written document. In every document you write, ensure you conduct sufficient research to support your argument as written in the document.

    It indicates everything you have used and read.

    When readers go through your reference list, they get assured of everything you have read and utilized to develop your written document.

    Elements of a Reference Page Template

    The following are elements of a reference page template:

    Web address

    Ensure you include http:/alongside your web address when referencing the web addresses. Suppose you need to break your address and make it fit in a single line, use punctuation marks. Never paste your web address as the hyperlink.

    Retrieval dates

    You must know that retrieval date is essential, especially when your sources are from the web. Jot down retrieved, date, month, and year.


    Indicate the name of publishers on your reference list under the title page. You can shorten it or write the full name.


    Your reference list must feature places where the publication took place. It is usually the city followed by the state. Use the first place offered on your title page. Remember to use a 2- letter state abbreviation.

    Page numbers

    These are written using numbers on your list and not abbreviations.

    Issue and volume numbers

    This is a necessity for your journal articles. During typing issues and volume numbers, use numbers only and avoid abbreviations. Remember, volume numbers should be italicized. On the other hand, issue numbers must be in parentheses.


    Suppose editors are included in the publication; ensure you use correct abbreviations, such as Eds or Ed. This should be in parenthesis immediately after the editor’s last name.


    A reference list must feature a title with italic or plain text formatting. Using capital letters differs based on the formatting rules, which must be followed.

    Publication date

    The publication date must be in parenthesis immediately after the author’s name. Many sources find a year of publication sufficient. When it comes to newspapers and magazine articles, days and months are usually included after the publication year.

    Author’s name

    You must include the authors’ names of the books and journals you have used. Start with the last name, a comma, then the first name. If there are more authors, use a comma in between them. If there is no author, utilize the name of the organization or group, but if there is no author at all, use the title as the author’s name.


    What is the difference between a reference list and a bibliography?

    A reference list is utilized using referencing in-text styles, such as CTF. In addition, it features the complete details of all cited sources by the family name in alphabetical order. Similarly, a bibliography is used with referencing footnote styles, like Miami B.

    What is a reference list in research?

    A reference list is a document featuring sources of a research paper. It usually enables readers to locate the sources you acquired information from. It also gives credit to the authors of those sources.

    What are the four things you need in an APA referencing?

    Below are the primary components of an APA:
    · Source
    · Title
    · Date
    · Author

    What is the format of a reference page?

    A reference page should be featured on a new page separate from your research paper or essay. Ensure the page has a label references at the top in bold at the center of your page. Avoid using quotation marks and underlining. The entire text must be double-spaced, similar to your research paper or essay.

    Final Thoughts

    The reference page comes at the end of your essay or research paper. And despite it coming at the end, this article has shown you its significance adequately. A reference list shows that you appreciate and respect all the data you have utilized in your work. Suppose you plan to have your written document published and showcased to the general public. Creating this page is crucial.